Health, Disease, and Persons: Well-Being in a Post-Modern World

  • H. Tristram EngelhardtJr.
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 72)


There is no generic human well-being. All actual human well-being has content and is specific. This is the case because well-being is contextual and there are numerous contexts within which human well-being can be defined. This is also the case because well-being must be specified in terms of a particular content-full understanding of values or human flourishing. To talk concretely of well-being is to specify a context and to accent some values over others, to endorse certain notions of appropriate human projects over others. Because there are divergent contexts within which to understand human well-being and because there are diverse accounts, understandings, and rankings of values and of appropriate human projects, a scrutiny of notions of health and disease reveals that they are in the plural.1 There are numerous competing accounts of the good life and of human flourishing. This plurality is reflected in the numerous understandings and construals of health and disease.2 The role of culture-dependent values in these differences is accented when particular understandings of disease and health are incorporated with health-care systems that must inevitably embody decisions as to what states of affairs should be the focus of appropriate medical concern and medical treatment.3 The framing of an all-encompassing societal health care system inevitably discloses tensions among competing accounts of health and disease.


Human Nature Human Person Inclusive Fitness Moral Community Moral Vision 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Tristram EngelhardtJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Rice UniversityHoustonUSA

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